International Task Force for Disease Eradication - Terms Defined
Eradication: Reduction of the worldwide incidence of a disease to zero as a result of deliberate efforts, obviating the necessity for further control measures. True eradication usually entails eliminating the microorganism itself or removing it completely from nature.
Elimination: Refers to cessation of transmission of a disease in a single country, continent, or other limited geographic area, rather than global eradication (e.g., polio in the Americas). It is also theoretically possible to "eliminate" a disease in humans while the microbe remains at large (e.g., neonatal tetanus). Although a disease itself may remain, a particularly undesirable clinical manifestation of it may be prevented entirely (e.g., blindness from trachoma) or new transmission interrupted (e.g., infectious yaws). Control of a disease or its manifestations to a level that it is no longer considered "a public health problem," as an arbitrarily defined qualitative (e.g., onchocerciasis in West Africa) or quantitative (e.g., leprosy incidence below one case per 10,000 population) level of disease control.
Control: Reduced incidence or prevalence of a disease or condition; control measures are still required.
Extinction: The specific infectious agent no longer exists in nature or the laboratory.
Eradication: Permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of infection caused by a specific agent as a result of deliberate efforts; intervention measures are no longer needed.
Elimination of Infection: Reduction to zero of the incidence of infection caused by a specific agent in a defined geographic area as a result of deliberate efforts; continued measures to prevent reestablishment of transmission are required.
Elimination of Disease: Reduction to zero of the incidence of a specified disease in a defined geographic area as a result of deliberate efforts; continued intervention measures are required.
Control: Reduction of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, or mortality to a locally acceptable level as a result of deliberate efforts; continued intervention measures are required to maintain the reduction.
1 1993. Recommendations and Reports: Recommendations of the International Task Force for Disease Eradication. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 42:RR-16.
2 Dowdle, W.R. and Hopkins, D.R., eds., 1998. The Eradication of Infectious Diseases. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Dowdle, W.R., 1998. The principles of disease elimination and eradication. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 76(2): 38-41.